West Indies Head Coach Trinidadian Phil Simmons says that number one ranked ODI side Australia will start as favorites in the Tri-Nation series that starts on Friday at the Guyana National Stadium from 13:00hrs.

The series also features host West Indies and number three ranked team South Africa who face off in the opening match. West Indies battle Australia on Sunday in another day night encounter before the Guyana leg ends on Tuesday when South Africa go Head-to-Head with Australia in a series in which every game will be played under lights.

The 53-year old Simmons, who played 26 Tests and 143 ODIs for the West Indies between 1987 and 1999, said the batsmen batted well in the nets before playing poorly in the two practice games against Barbados.

“I would not be too concerned about that since five of our top players were missing and I thought we had good sessions in Barbados. I am confident that if we play our best cricket we will be successful since we were not the favorites in the t20 World Cup and ended up winning,” Simmons said.

The big hitting former opening batsman who scored a Test ton and five ODI centuries said there is a reason why Australia and South Africa are the number one and the number three teams in the world, adding that this was what West Indies, ranked number eight, were aiming for.

“There has not been International cricket here (Providence) in a long time so we are not sure what type of pitch to expect. But my best track for our bowling attack would be one with a little bit of grass and bounce. That would give our bowlers something to work with and once there is bounce then it should also good for our batsmen to bat on,” Simmons explained.

Simmons said that off-spinner Sunil Narine who has remodeled his bowling action is just as important to the West Indies team as he was to his IPL team in India.

Simmons disclosed if the track is low and slow then he expects his spinners Narine, Ashley Nurse and Suleiman Benn to be successful.

A lot is also expected from senior batsman Darren Bravo and Marlon Samuels along with Denish Ramdin and all rounders Skipper Jason Holder, World Cup hero Carlos Braithwaite and Kieron Pollard. Narine and Pollard return to the side after not being selected for the t20 World Cup.

Friday will be the first time that South Africa will face West Indies in an ODI in Guyana.

West Indies who arrived in South America on Monday had their first practice session in here yesterday afternoon, while South Africa are scheduled to have a ‘net’ today at Providence from 09:30hrs.


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